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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eighth Grocery Challenge of 2012 Holy majoly, where has the year gone?!?!?!?!!?

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    July 2012 Grocery Challenge

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be £1 a week or £20 a week.

    If you are currently spending £200 a month don't suddenly drop it to £100 - you'll never do it but if you cut £20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is £80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on £80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of £600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at £15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at £280 per month and brought it down to £240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to £260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out £20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for £X off a spend of £XX - if you had no NEED to spend £XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy £7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 22-07-2012 at 11:49 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 36
    • xxlouisexx56
    • By xxlouisexx56 16th Aug 12, 7:46 PM
    • 2,191 Posts
    • 30,133 Thanks
    £11 today in asda. Don't normally go there but DP and I love the stir fry sauces. So I bought 9 and 2 salad dressings

    Got the rest of DD's school uniform too
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 16th Aug 12, 8:28 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Bossymoo, I would love you to tell us that you have MADE some coleslaw to indulge to your little hearts content with no guilt pangs whatsoever!
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    Lol I have in the past, and I did think about it the other day. HM is delicious. But painful. Grating onions

    I can never slice things finely enough, and I find those mini choppers tend to pulse to mush...

    need an mse way...

    Away with the fairies
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 16th Aug 12, 8:56 PM
    • 3,412 Posts
    • 34,917 Thanks
    Oh dear I need my purse padlocking shut

    Spent in M&S last night on meat and roast potatoes (i know, I know I should make my own but they are sooooo yummy) and in Mr S tonight on beer, crisps and a haul of ys GF stuf that was actually reduced quite a bit. 4 GF muffins x 2 for 44p each and a GF banana cake down to 69p from £2.69. Not mad about my banana cake but thought I would give this a try at that price.

    I now have enough meat to last me the rest of this month and the 2 weeks in September we are at home. I will buy some fresh sausages, bacon and gammon for the 2 weeks we are away as we are self catering in a Hav3n caravan.

    Off to my Mum's for the day on Saturday so will need snacks for tea as we will have a big lunch and planning a picnic on Sunday and have everything in for tea. Apart from bread, ham milk and fruit I can't see what else we need this week. Will probably find there is something knowing me

    My new month starts next wednesday and although I have gone over budget this month I am still spending less each month
    October Grocery Challenge - £277.74/£220
    • MrsCD
    • By MrsCD 16th Aug 12, 10:10 PM
    • 753 Posts
    • 11,263 Thanks
    Well done quintwins - that's amazing

    Well today was 'technically' a NSD. Went out with DH, Mam and DD2 and I bought lots of 'ladies unmentionables'! (nighties, bras & pants) at M&S. I had some vouchers so I actually spent £2.50 for £65 worth of goods.
    Mam paid for the teacakes I bought so as you see - technically a NSD!!
    • forever saving
    • By forever saving 17th Aug 12, 5:58 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 8,850 Thanks
    forever saving
    I haven't updated for a while. I now have a total of £249.42. Oh dear, that's not looking good. I will just have to try my best.
    Wow quintwins, what a haul!! I usually go shopping early in the morning but i think i'm going to go a bit later in the day to see if i can get some bargains. I need all the help i can get at the moment.
    Well done to everyone else.
    Jan GC £298.62/£300 Feb £298.01/£300 March £331.06/£300 April £69.96/£300
    Learning to accept the things i cannot change
  • Mrs Addicted to Spending
    Debt Free Soon - welcome to the thread - I find that Lid! is definitely cheaper for a lot of things than the big SMs although I still get some things from Sainsbugs that are cheaper or that we prefer.

    So far I'm in budget this month but still have one week's shopping left to do with only £50 - I'll make a massive effort to stay within it but with kids being off, that may be difficult. Still, I'm going to minimise any over spends as much as I can .
    Pay debt in 2012 #278 £2347/£5364
    Sealed Pot 5 #1713 £78.57 //Crazy Clothes Challenge #97 £79.49/£100
    Grocery Challenge:
    Feb £359/£360 Mar £390/£450 Apr £335/£320
    May £330/£320 Jun £455/£400 Jul £321/£320
    Aug £399/£370 Sep £345/£300 Oct £421/£400 Nov £0/£320
    • NickJW
    • By NickJW 17th Aug 12, 7:18 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 13,646 Thanks
    Amazing haul quintins!

    Had some spends yesterday:

    £4.39 in Mr S on things for lunch yesterday, today and for tomorrow.
    £6.63 in M+S on pasta, cheddar, milk, onions and squash
    £2.25 in Bo0ts on handwash and facewash
    59p on a can of diet coke from the corner shop
    £13.86 total

    Grabbed some meatballs out of the freezer originally bought from Lidl for meatballs and pasta last night. The meatballs were lovely - not bad for £1.39! There is another pack in the freezer, and I'll get them again if I ever notice them.
    Tonight is another basic meal - YS pizza grabbed from the freezer with LO salad.

    Tomorrow I'm going back to my parents for the weekend so I'm going to bring home the leftover lunch items from work tonight and will have a bigger 'brunch' tomorrow to stop me needing to buy any snacks at the train station.

    Hope everyone is well.
    Grocery Challenge 14 Jan 14 £46.05/£130

    Grocery Challenge 13 -spent £1453.06
    Grocery Challenge 12 -spent £1565.51

    DFD 1st March 2011
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 17th Aug 12, 8:26 AM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    Am so proud of myself. Yesterday I received an email from Waitrose, telling me that their wines are 25% off. So I looked and there were some nice bargains, plus 5% off extra if you buy 6. Free delivery if spend £50.

    Wine for normal home use (eg not on an outing, that comes under entertainment in my budget) come out of the GC. I am well on target and £50 would have given me a dozen easily. So I ordered. Booked the delivery. Paid.

    Then I reflected. There are always wine reductions, when it is not one SM is another, Lidl wines are always cheaper anyway, and very nice. Same with Aldi. If we have a stock of wines we drink every day. If we don't, we buy the odd bottle at the local shop, a bit more expensive but not every day. Wine is not an essential so stashing it has no real value.

    Reader, I cancelled the order!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
  • KolaKube
    Hiya everyone! Mind if I join back in..? Not going to set a budget for this month as our august only has a week and a half left in it, but will set one for sept. Going off on maternity in Nov so I want to get into good habits before then..!

    I'm always full of good intentions, but my new challenge resolution is to shop around..! We've been quite busy with work this past while, but I would like to get a grip back on the grocery budget. Been shopping consistently in MrT even though its the same old stuff every time and a complete rip off! There's me, OH, and soon to be a little DS or DD to look after! (Yikes that's scary!)

    So, the plan is: meal planning, shopping around (we have MrT, MrS, M&S, MrL within easy reach, MrA is a 30 min drive away, and the shop over the road does 2L local milk for 69p and 6 local FR eggs for 75p for example, theres a local butcher I'm ashamed to say I have yet to try, and mum has found another farm shop locally that also sells things like bulk boxes of shower gel for £4-5 etc).

    We currently work on a rough budget of £150 per month for food, cleaning, toiletries, alcohol (we dont drink much!) but invariably go over / lose count. It's too much really for 2 people. I will get a grip on this! OH has said he would like to eat healthier and more veggie meals (will miracles never cease) so I'd like to take advantage of that too!

    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 17th Aug 12, 10:17 AM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    I have pulled out a YS pork loin joint to make for dinner later. I have also pulled out some stuffing, cabbage, and swede mash. I will make some yorkshire puddings and gravy to go with it and some roasties and apple sauce.
    I really fancy a proper dinner after too much salad.
    Breakfast is more cereal.
    Lunch, I have pulled out ham and pea soup with rolls. Nothing should go in today except maybe a couple of left over yorkshire puddings.

    I am determined to have a nsd.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 17th Aug 12, 10:41 AM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Been to @ldi spent £38 on a trolley full. They had 1kg bags penne pasta for 59p.
    Got the kids some treats for the Xmas box and all sorts of veg, and a yummy smelling coconut bath soak.

    Have all my ingredients for hm coleslaw will have a bash and report back later...

    Eta hope this pic works...

    Ooh it does!

    Anything Coleslaw:
    1/4 white cabbage
    2 carrots
    bit of red onion, according to taste
    1/2 red pepper
    1/2 cucumber
    Finely slice / shred ingredients, I used my y peeler to get them nice and thin.

    1 scoop each mayo, Greek yoghurt and creme Fraiche
    Tsp whole grain mustard, bit of black pepper and onion granules, to taste
    Mix sauces together and dress veg.

    I have served with shredded ham and cheese. To mix into it, and a handful of vine tomatoes.

    Deee-lish, thankyou for giving me the kick to make my own :
    Last edited by bossymoo; 17-08-2012 at 12:09 PM.

    Away with the fairies
  • jumblejack
    Been to @ldi spent £38 on a trolley full. They had 1kg bags penne pasta for 59p.
    Got the kids some treats for the Xmas box and all sorts of veg, and a yummy smelling coconut bath soak.

    Have all my ingredients for hm coleslaw will have a bash and report back later...

    Eta hope this pic works...

    Ooh it does!

    Anything Coleslaw:
    1/4 white cabbage
    2 carrots
    bit of red onion, according to taste
    1/2 red pepper
    1/2 cucumber
    Finely slice / shred ingredients, I used my y peeler to get them nice and thin.

    1 scoop each mayo, Greek yoghurt and creme Fraiche
    Tsp whole grain mustard, bit of black pepper and onion granules, to taste
    Mix sauces together and dress veg.

    I have served with shredded ham and cheese. To mix into it, and a handful of vine tomatoes.

    Deee-lish, thankyou for giving me the kick to make my own :
    Originally posted by bossymoo
    Nommy nom nom. That looks so much nicer than store bought

    We done you clever clogs
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):£30.50/£40
    • cowboymum
    • By cowboymum 17th Aug 12, 5:11 PM
    • 234 Posts
    • 3,211 Thanks
    Got a bit sidetracked this week so have slightly lost count money wise, and what I have posted on here! Got tesco order on Sunday, and so shopping trips have significantly decreased.

    Eggs from corner shop £1.99 (haven't bought eggs for ages but our chickens have slowed down signifincantly)
    Veg box and eggs £16.60
    Crisps for boys 99p
    Total £19.58

    I think that's it!
  • rosieben
    bossymoo, your coleslaw looks lovely. I've added it to the recipe index
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Possession
    • By Possession 17th Aug 12, 5:51 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    Well done on the coleslaw bossymoo! I remember my parents making coleslaw in the magimix, in fact I remember them doing all kinds of things you see on the OS board. they aren't very OS any more though re. food, i guess having a bit more money means you ease off a bit.
    NSD here.

    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 17th Aug 12, 6:11 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    Nommy nom nom. That looks so much nicer than store bought

    We done you clever clogs
    Originally posted by jumblejack
    And thank you for the nudge

    Away with the fairies
    • Billie-jo
    • By Billie-jo 17th Aug 12, 7:57 PM
    • 1,221 Posts
    • 15,892 Thanks
    Went to a Chinese warehouse today and brought 1kg of deveined King Prawns for £8.50 I have no idea if this is a good price as personally I donít like them but DH does. Also brought a huge head of garlic that cost all of £0.24 Although didnít buy anything else I cant believe how cheap some of the items were. Will certainly go again but at the moment just donít need anything.

    Have some tomatoes that need using up so will probably make Roasted red pepper and tomato soup tomorrow then just some fruit & veg to get if all goes to plan.

    Well done CATERINA on cancelling the wine very MS

    - I brought one of the 59p bags of pasta yesterday and am thinking of buying another one for stock. Only problem is DH is not on board with this money saving at all and will say we donít need it so will have to wait until he is not with me.

    Hope everyone has a good weekend.
    [COLOR="Purple"][B] MARCH £62.38/250 [B][COLOR="Purple"]
  • sjprmc01
    £2.24 today on loo roll and partial payment for a pot of ambrosia custard

    I also got bread but had a manufacturer coupon to cover that (and the other part of the cost of the custard) could only use if for products from the same group of mfrs.

    Will add to my total in a bit.
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
    • jasmin10
    • By jasmin10 17th Aug 12, 8:43 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 1,720 Thanks
    Well I knew it would happen. I did get the few bits I needed and used my pinecone vouchers but I still needed a couple of bits. So today I went to Mr T and got them, including a free box of nestle cereal using my voucher and some sanex deo for 39p again using my voucher. Also found some laundry detergent that works out cheaper than powder and its the posh flavour ones. 25 washes and its £1, both Mr M and Mr T have them in.

    Anyhow will work out the damage and update my sign - that first week I blew £168 has haunted me all month, cant wait for my new month to start.

    Edit - worked out that I spent 30.61 today so has taken me over budget by 226.02. Hopefully wont need anything else now.
    Last edited by jasmin10; 17-08-2012 at 9:33 PM. Reason: updated sig
    [I]TopCashback £1792.63
    My Little World
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 17th Aug 12, 9:02 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    I spent around £12 on groceries today but did not update so will do the figures and signature changes tomorrow. Good night all!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
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